Breast cancer scare drives participant

Busselton Dunsborough Times
Rohan Hayhow will compete in the SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim this weekend.
Camera IconRohan Hayhow will compete in the SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim this weekend.

The SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim 2019 kicks off this weekend with more than 10,000 anticipated swimmers, spectators, volunteers and visitors flocking to the foreshore.

Every participant swims for any of a range of reasons, be it achieving a goal, ticking off a bucket list item, overcoming fears or proving age is no barrier — just to name a few.

Rohan Hayhow of Dunsborough is no exception.

She is using the Busselton Jetty Swim as a platform to raise awareness of breast cancer and highlight the importance of community support and groups like McGrath Foundation, which got her through 2018.

The 44-year-old mother began ocean swimming in early 2017 with a local group, Swimming Women, after overcoming a fear of the ocean that stemmed from nearly drowning aged four.

But last year, Ms Hayhow was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The tumour was small but high-grade and likely would have become invasive before I would have noticed a lump or a change in my breast,” she said.

“I was extremely fortunate that it was found at this early stage.”

After two surgeries and five weeks of daily radiotherapy, of which she is still feeling the effects, Ms Hayhow decided to enter the Jetty Swim and use it as a platform to raise awareness.

“During my treatment for breast cancer I was allocated a McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Michelle Rampant, who is based in Bunbury,” she said.

“Michelle was there for me throughout my surgeries and my radiation treatment to provide me with information, support and as a person I could call on to talk to about what side effects I might be having or any questions I needed answers to.

While I was having treatment I had made a promise to myself that I would do something to give back to the McGrath Foundation and also to raise awareness of breast cancer in my local community.”

Ms Hayhow will swim in the Jetty Swim in a duo, joining about 3100 swimmers across all events. The SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim incorporates a range of free family entertainment tomorrow and on Sunday.

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